Author, British Social Figure. She was born Jeanette Jerome, the eldest of three daughters in a mansion on Henry Street, Brooklyn New York to prosperous financier Leonard Jerome and Clara Hall a socially inclined mother. Leonard Jerome was known by the nickname 'The King of Wall Street' and was a patron of the arts who founded the American Academy of Music and then as an avid sportsman the American Jockey Club. Jeanette (Jennie) attended the best New York finishing schools. On a trip to Paris with her mother, her beauty and elegant manner caught the attention of Lord Randolph Churchill, son of the Duke of Marlborough. They were married at the British Embassy (age 20) in Paris while acquiring the title 'Lady Randolph Churchill'. He was active in British politics but Jennie rarely became involved but was an outspoken opponent of women's right to vote. Consequently, she and her son Winston were often heckled by enraged suffragettes. The marriage produced two sons and the elder, Winston, became prime minister of Great Britain. She was the social success of London but became a widow at a young age. After Lord Churchill died in 1895, she occupied herself by editing a short-lived literary magazine and writing several books and plays. After her book entitled 'Reminiscences of Lady Randolph Churchill' was published, she penned a play 'Her Borrowed Plumes' which starred Mrs Patrick Campbell and then a second 'The Bill.' Her collection of articles 'Short Talks on Big Subjects' were published in Pearson's Magazine and some of her quotes remain famous today, such as 'There is no such thing as a moral dress-it's the people who are moral or immoral and Treat your friends as you do your pictures and place them in their best light.' She was influential in the uppermost British social and political circles which greatly helped Winston Churchill in the early stages of his career. Jennie was very patriotic and during the Boer War she organized the purchase and commissioning of an american constructed 200 bed hospital ship name 'The Maine,' and then headed to South Aftica to inspect the vessel prior to it being placed in service. She was tabloid material after the death of her husband. She had numerous lovers and admirers including Kind Edward VII and King Milan of Serbia. She married twice more, her second to a captain in the Scots Guards ended in divorce. A third husband was a British civil servant and they lived in Nigeria with the marriage lasting until her death. Although she was not entitled to her royal title, she continued to be known as 'Lady Randolph Churchill.' Poor health plagued her and after surgery in London to remove a gangrenous leg she past away at age sixty seven. Although out of the Churchill loop, Jennie was buried in the Churchill plot at St. Martin's Churchyard. Postscript: The Jennie Jerome Playground in Brooklyn is named for the mother of Sir Winston Churchill and is located next to Jerome Avenue which is named for her father. She has been remembered recently in many ways: Lady Randolph Churchill was portrayed in the television series, 'Jennie' by Lee Remick and then by Anne Bancroft in the film 'Young Winston' and biographies have been published; 'Lady Randolph Churchill' by Anita Leslie in 1969 - 'Jennie' a 2 volume publication by Ralph G. Martin in 1969 - 'Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchill: A Portrait with Letters' by Peregrine Churchill and Julian Mitchell in 1974.
Bio by: Donald Greyfield